Who better to pen a he-man kitchen how-to than prolific grillmaster Steven Raichlen, the author of 30 cookbooks including “Planet Barbecue!” and the host of “Primal Grill” and “Barbecue University” on PBS.
Raichlen will be in Seattle on Monday, June 23, promoting “Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys,” at a special dinner event, demo and book signing at RN74 Restaurant downtown. (Call 206-456-7474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.)
The hefty, illustrated Workman paperback promises “culinary literacy for men.” Writing with dry humor and a straightforward style, Raichlen comes across as a wise and knowing high school coach, friendly but firm, making it clear when rules are rules (safe food-handling procedures) and when you can bend them (Crazy Salad).
Basic techniques are clearly explained and the 300-plus recipes span a broad range of food and drink — from how to separate eggs to how to freeze a bottle of vodka in a block of ice; from steak cooked on a pitchfork in boiling fat to the dainty Thai bar snack Miang Kum. Each recipe includes tips for buying the ingredients and the gear you’ll need, plus ways you might tweak the dish.
Sidebars highlight a number of foods Raichlen dubs “Man’s Best Friend.” Move over, Fido, and make room for pork shoulder, anchovies, avocado and spaghetti, to name a few. Sprinkled throughout are Raichlen’s literate musings and his illuminating interviews with cool “Food Dudes” from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Keller. It’s a tantalizing read and, dare I suggest, a book that won’t appeal just to guys.
Below is Raichlen’s recipe for Dark and Stormy Barbecue Sauce. “The gingery bite and sweet rum finish goes well with a wide variety of grilled and smoked meats,” he says. I plan to make it with Seattle’s own Rachel’s Ginger Beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, making sure there’s enough of each left over to mix my new favorite summer cocktail of the same name (also in the book): 6 ounces ginger beer, 2 ounces of rum, a wedge of lime, rocks.
Dark and Stormy Barbecue Sauce from “Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys” by Steven Raichlen
Yield: about 2 ½ cups
1 cup ginger beer
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, or more to taste
¼ cup dark rum
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place ginger beer in a heavy saucepan, let come to a boil over high heat and let boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, rum, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and juice, liquid smoke, onion powder, cinnamon and pepper and whisk to mix. Gradually let the sauce come to a simmer over medium heat and let simmer until thick and flavorful, 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding more brown sugar and/or lemon juice to taste; the sauce should be very flavorful.
3. Transfer the sauce to a bowl for serving or to clean jars with lids for storing and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the sauce until serving. Refrigerated, it will keep for several weeks. Let the sauce return to room temperature before serving.